(This article originally appeared in AskCBD! and is republished here with permission)
CBD is a great potential treatment against arthritic pain and athletic injuries. It can be used to reduce stress and anxiety. Even your pets can benefit from animal-friendly doses of CBD. But how does CBD interact with your other medications?
It’s a topic we’ve explored a bit before, but if you’re taking prescribed medications, you might be thinking that CBD isn’t for you. For the most part, that’s not true — however, you should always consult your doctor before adding anything new to your mix of medications. Moreover, each individual is unique, so be wary of any blanket statements.
Still, in general, anyone can take advantage of the potential health benefits of CBD. It is important to understand how CBD interacts with you and your existing medical routine.
CBD and drug interactions
According to some researchers, CBD will interact with any prescribed or over-the-counter medications you’re taking. Studies have found that CBD naturally inhibits the body’s P450 enzymes, a group of enzymes that are key to metabolizing different kinds of drugs. In fact, a study completed by the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk found that P450 enzymes are responsible for breaking down 90 percent of all the drugs and medicine we take.
The enzymes’ main job is to break down potentially toxic compounds. It breaks down any drugs, alcohol, or foreign substances that we imbibe and metabolizes them through the liver. Because everybody is different, your P450 enzymes and the way you metabolize medicine will differ from the next person.
For example, P450 inhibits the metabolization of beta-blockers and other antidepressants. But the varying levels of these enzymes from body to body are why patients report different responses to medical treatments for anxiety or depression. If you’re currently taking antidepressants, CBD can interact with your prescription and further inhibit your absorption of the medicine.
Inhibiting your P450 enzymes is not a negative side effect of CBD. It’s just something that naturally happens. Many different things can stop these enzymes from working, including grapefruits, tobacco, and Saint-John’s Wort. Alternatively, some medications will forcibly inhibit these enzymes to activate the medical properties in the drug. It all depends on what medication you’re taking and for what reason you’re taking it.
Always ask your doctor
Reading about CBD online is one thing. Talking about it with your doctor is another. To understand CBD’s health benefits and how it will interact with your medications, you need to ask your doctor about adding it to your routine.
Hemp-derived CBD is available without a prescription, but that doesn’t mean you should start using it without understanding how your body will react. As an enzyme inhibitor, it can change your existing medical routine, especially if you start using CBD without consulting your doctor. Asking a few questions can be the difference between a positive CBD experience and a negative one.
Your doctor will be able to explain how and if your medications will react to CBD and can recommend dosing options for you. Not all doses are the same, and finding the right dose of CBD can limit the adverse effects it can have with your prescribed medications. Even if you aren’t taking any prescriptions right now, it’s important to let your doctor know that you’ve started to use CBD as it can influence what kind of prescriptions you’re given in the future.
If you’re curious about CBD and want to know how it can benefit you, ask your doctor. CBD is legal in all fifty states, and your doctor should be aware of its health benefits and treatment opportunities. Even if you’re on a prescribed regimen, it’s never too late to ask about different possibilities or treatments involving CBD.